Hampshire will not panic in pursuit of glory

Will Smith. Picture: Neil Marshall
Will Smith. Picture: Neil Marshall
Shahid Afridi. Picture: Neil Marshall

Afridi sends Hampshire into T20 Blast last four

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Will Smith admitted Hampshire will not go ‘gung-ho’ in their bid to defeat Durham and spark a County Championship division one survival charge.

But he insisted they will do everything in their power to claim a much-needed triumph.

The Ageas Bowl outfit will begin the fourth day trailing their visitors by 175 runs.

Durham have still got nine wickets remaining in their second innings – putting them firmly in command.

However, should the captains agree on a sporting declaration – Hampshire could be given a tantalising chase for glory.

The division one strugglers are keen to inject some momentum into their first-class season.

But Smith, who notched 85 in his side’s first innings total of 307, insists they will not press the panic button in an effort to preserve their top-flight future.

The middle-order batsman said: ‘We need to try to win games but we also don’t want to lose games.

‘We’re still just a win away from being in the pack just above us.

‘We won’t go gung-ho to try to win the game just because we have to.

‘If it is there and we feel we can win it then we will give it a go.’

Chris Rushworth claimed six wickets for Durham as they secured a first-innings lead of 114.

Smith, however, proved a thorn in the side of his former side – who he led to the County Championship title in 2009.

The 32-year-old was delighted to get among the runs.

But he was surprised he wasn’t on the receiving end of a little more stick as he frustrated the Durham bowling attack.

Smith said: ‘Rushworth is very very good.

‘He has incredible skill with his seam position and he doesn’t really bowl you a bad ball.

‘I was expecting a bit more stick, to be honest.

‘But they went a bit easy on me, maybe it was reverse psychology.

‘It was nice to get runs against them as a former county but it is just another game.

‘You just have to contribute whoever is the opposition.’

Hampshire leg-spinner Mason Crane nicked the wicket as Durham closed day three on 61 for one.

Smith added: ‘Mason has bowled unbelievably well for his Championship debut. It bodes well for the future.’